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CE Growth Expected From Variety Of Categories


What are some of the new and existing
categories that will drive business during
the first half?

Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing:

A great
amount of LED, LCD and plasma displays
are doing well in the market. Unit
sales on these items are up considerably,
as well as sales of HTIB (home theater
in a box), sound bars, GPS devices, netbooks
and iPod accessories. However,
the ASP (average selling price) on these
categories continues to decline. We see ereaders,
netbooks, headphones, ear buds
and LED displays as big categories for the
first half of 2010.

Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:

Televisions are still very exciting, and
overall product availability will remain
tight. LED technology is popular due to
the ongoing push to be green. Therefore,
the consumer is educating himself on the
benefits of LED over LCD. LED TVs
utilize less power and are being marketed
as producing the fi nest picture quality.

Digital cameras are a consistent and
solid business. Consumers want advanced
features like optical image stabilization
with powerful zooms but won’t
settle for a less stylish design. So manufactures
have to remain technology-savvy
and hip — even with the new waterproof
Notebooks are hot, and we’ve seen a
common trend for many manufacturers
shifting to the now more standardized
16:9 screens. Consumers are looking for a
lightweight and affordable option with a
long battery life without sacrifi cing style.

Mark Gustavson, WYNIT:

“Needs” will
continue to trump “wants” as we move
into Q2. Technology products aimed at
SO/HO and road-warrior users have
seen steady growth over the year. Accessories,
consumables and supplies remain
viable. Modest boosts may
be gained as ASPs on “niceto-
have” products approach
the impulse-buy threshold.

Doretta Raffio, ADI:

will see opportunity in retrofit
applications, commercial
A/V and growth in vertical
markets. Lower costs on projectors
and fl at panels will drive business, as well
as more entry level price points on Blu-ray
players. System enhancements, and upgrades,
will help increase sales.

Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman
and Co.:

Apple-related accessories, flatpanel
TV and Blu-ray players continue to
drive the business.

The spike in iPod and iPhone penetration
from last year’s holiday selling season
has led to increased sales of all related accessories,
such as docking stations, cases,
speaker systems and home-based units.
Flat-panel TV sales are still robust, with
demand for screen sizes shifting to the 40-
inch arena after the fourth quarter. Blu-ray
retail price compression has also allowed
this categories sales to remain steady.

A nontraditional category that many
CE dealers are embracing is that of LED
lighting. With all the interest surrounding
the “green initiative” and demand for
these products only growing many retailers
are viewing this category
as an increased margin
play as well as a new traffi c
and volume driver.

Jeff Kussard, Capitol

Multi-room entertainment
has matured
to the point that even the
most reticent end users can be tempted
with wireless and powerline carrier products
that require minimally disruptive installations
and service. Think about it
— as recently as 2008, the custom installation
market focused almost exclusively
on new housing starts, reaching only 5
percent of middle class and upper-middle
income consumers. Even during the boom
years, it was just a sliver of the pie. Only
two years later, the addition of No New
(Long) Wires technologies to our catalog
extends our reach from 5 to 95 percent of
the overall market.

This isn’t to say that traditional custom
products will disappear anytime soon.
On the contrary, companies like Actiontek
are developing some of the most interesting
products that take full advantage of
existing coax wiring. It’s just that for the
fi rst time, we can offer a system for almost
any reasonable application and budget. I
expect PLC and wireless to remain hot
throughout the year.

Warren Chaiken, Almo:

Our research
shows that the big growth category for
2010 is LED TVs. As these attractive
panels get thinner and less expensive they
will end up becoming a functional piece of
home décor. Technology that makes your
home look nicer — now that’s something
most consumers will be interested in.

Benjy Goldstein, Fesco Distributors:

Digital music players, e-readers and thin
LED TVs are just some of the products that are leading the market.

Bill Stewart, Petra Industries:

has always believed in the power of the
add-on accessory sale because it’s the biggest
profi t driver for retailers. We’ve experienced
an exponential growth in sales
over the last few months in our iPhone/
iPod category with peripherals such as
cases. And we’re really excited about the
launch of the iPad, which gives us a whole
new category to drive business with accessories
like docks, cases and keyboard
docks. Existing accessory categories that
we think will also drive nice results in the
industry include “green” UPS systems
and batteries, photo/video, GPS and ereaders.